Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari before the Federal High Court in Abuja, over loans collected by his government since he assumed office in May 29, 2015.
In a suit filed by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Adelanke Aremo, SERAP asked Buhari to account for the interest rate on the loans, the total amount of debts that have so far been incurred by this government, as well as details of the projects on which the loans have been spent.
Joined as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Ms Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; and Ms Patience Oniha Director-General of the Debt Management Office.
SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians the names of countries and bodies that have given the loans, specific repayment conditions, and whether any public officers solicited and/or received bribes in the negotiations for any of the loans, and if there is plan to audit the spending of the loans, to resolve any allegations of mismanagement and corruption.”
SERAP is also asking the court to: “direct and compel President Buhari to tell Nigerians if he would instruct the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the spending of all loans obtained since May 2015.”
SERAP is arguing that: “Opacity in the spending of loans would continue to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of citizens. Transparency would ensure that the loans are not diverted to private pockets, increase public trust that these loans would be used to benefit Nigerians, provide good value for money, and reassure Nigeria’s creditors.”
According to SERAP, “This suit is permitted under the Freedom of Information Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.” SERAP is also arguing that: “While access to loans can provide indispensable resources, the mismanagement and squandering of any such resources would be counter-productive. Nigerians should no longer be made to repay debts incurred in their name but which have not benefited them in any manner, shape or form.”
KanyiDaily recalls that SERAP had also filed a suit against the 36 states of the federation over life pensions being paid the former governors and former deputy governors.